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Road Transport (Working Time) Guidance

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4. Working at Night

4.1 Main Points

  • Night time is between midnight and 4am for goods vehicles and 1am and 5am for passenger vehicles.
  • If night work is performed, the daily working time should not exceed 10 hours in the 24 hour period in question.
  • If a mobile worker does any work during the night time period, he/she will be subject to the night work limit.
  • The night work limit can only be exceeded where this is permitted by a relevant agreement (see Section 7.1 - "relevant agreements").

Employer's Check:

  • Identify the mobile workers who are likely to be affected by the limits on night work.
  • If more than ten hours working time is normally performed (during a 24 hour period) consider whether the number of hours can be reduced.
  • If necessary, consult your workforce about the possibility of working longer hours under a relevant agreement (see Section 7.1 - "relevant agreements")

4.2 What is night time?

Night time is the period between 00.00 and 04.00  for drivers and other mobile workers on goods vehicles and 0100 and 0500 for those on passenger services. Employers and workers cannot choose a different period.

If a mobile worker does any work during the night time period, they will be subject to the night work limit. The night work limit can only be exceeded where this is permitted in a relevant agreement - (see Section 7.1 - "relevant agreements").

4.3 What is the working time limit for night work?

Unless you have a relevant agreement, workers are limited to 10 hours work (i.e. working time) over the 24 hour period. As with the other working time limits under this legislation, breaks and periods of availability are not included in the 10 hour limit.

The 24 hour period is very important, and should not be confused with 10 hours night work per shift. The 10 hours should be calculated on a rolling basis therefore when carrying out night work on consecutive shifts a mobile worker's start time could be dictated by how much working time they completed in the previous shift.

Example for goods vehicle driver where night time is between 00:00 hours (midnight) and 04:00 hours:

For simplicity, the examples exclude breaks and periods of availability.  The first example below complies with the rules and shows a mobile worker working 10 hours on their first night shift starting on the Monday at 19:00 hours and then working three consecutive 10 hour shifts, as can be seen this means that the earliest the driver can start is always 19:00 hours to ensure the 10 hour limit is not exceeded.

hours: 00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23
Mon                                                
Tue                                                
Wed                                                
Thur                                                

The second example below also complies with the rules and shows a mobile worker working 10 hours on their first night shift starting on the Monday at 19:00 hours and then working three consecutive 10 hour shifts, but starting an hour later each day so the limit is not exceeded.  

hours: 00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23
Mon                                                
Tue                                                
Wed                                                
Thur                                                

The third example below does not comply with the rules, it shows a mobile worker working 10 hours on their first shift and then starting work again at 18:00 hours on the Tuesday.  This is illegal because it would mean that in the 24 hour period from 19:00 hours on Monday to 19:00 hours on Tuesday, total working time would be 11 hours.  

hours: 00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23
Mon                                                
Tue                                                

The final example below complies with the rules and shows a mobile worker working only 9 hours on their first shift.  This enables them to start work on the Tuesday at 18:00 hours because in the 24 hour period 19:00 hours on Monday to 19:00 hours on Tuesday, total working time would be 10 hours.  As the mobile worker starts at 18:00 hours on the Tuesday they can work until 04:00 hours on the Wednesday, a total working time of 10 hours, provided that they do not restart work again on the Wednesday until 18:00 hours.

hours: 00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23
Mon                                                
Tue                                                
Wed                                                


4.4 Working longer than 10 hours

More than 10 hours work at night can only be performed, if there is a relevant agreement in place. The amount of working time that can be performed is still restricted by the minimum rest requirements under European drivers' hours rules.

Frequently asked questions:

Q: Does the limit apply to you if you only occasionally work at night?

A: Yes, unless:

  • you are an occasional mobile worker (see Section 1.3 - "occasional mobile worker"); or
  • there is a relevant agreement that allows you to work longer than 10 hours in the 24 hour period.

Q: If I am a night worker under the Regulations, am I entitled to a health check under the 1998 Regulations?

A: In most cases the answer will be 'yes', but the right to health checks for night workers is governed by the 1998 Regulations, not these Regulations. The 1998 Regulations define: 'night time' as a period between 11pm and 6am - although this definition may be varied by a relevant agreement as long as the period is still 7 hours long and includes midnight to 5am; and a 'night worker' as someone who works for at least three hours during the night time period on the majority of their working days. This definition can also be varied by a relevant agreement. Further information on health checks for night workers can be found on the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform website at: http://www.berr.gov.uk.

For related documents, pages and internet links, see the column on the right.

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